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A Beginner's Guide To Heavy Metal #11 - Metalcore

Updated on December 29, 2013

The Melding of Two Furies

Heavy metal and punk had seen collaborations before, thrash being the first sub-genre to incorporate elements of the anarchist anthems into their work. Then in the mid-nineties, a group of hardcore bands began borrowing elements from their heavy metal contemporaries, Pantera and Sepultura being seen as the primary ground layers, earning the title of Metallic Hardcore. It was this batch of bands such as Earth Crisis, Converge, and Hatebreed, that laid the framework for the biggest explosion of metal on the mainstream charts since the heyday of hair metal. In the 2000s, a whole slew of heavy metal bands suddenly found themselves having top 40 hits again, the truly gifted among them finding that perfect combination of catchy melodies and heavy metal riffs mixed with hardcore attitude and screamed vocals to take a whole new generation of disenfranchised youth by storm. This was not always to it's benefit however, as the primary complaint I have with Metalcore is the unfathomable amount of bands that just sound like carbon copies of the watered down copies of the originators. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some truly spectacular entries into the genre that I will recommend for any metal fan.

Disclaimer: As with the Rap Metal article, this entry and likely the one to follow it will contain only five entries for two reasons, the first being what I stated in the intro, that being that too many of the bands sound unoriginal and like copies of a dozen other bands and just frankly aren't that good. The second being that this is a genre that is still relatively in it's infancy and I don't feel I can give a definitive list of the albums that will stand the test of time just yet.



As I Lay Dying - Frail Worlds Collapse

It truly is a shame that all of the controversy over the truly horrible accusations that have been made against front man Tim Lambesis are still fresh in our minds, but I am not going to weigh in with my opinions on that. At least not here. Taking all recent events out of my thoughts about this band, this is a great album that while it does not have quite as much melody that most other Metalcore bands incorporate, it manages to make up for it with the shear punch of it's hardcore roots. Great riffs and overall great songs, this is definitely one the hardcore fans will enjoy.



Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies

Former front man Howard Jones has one of the most powerful and diverse voices in metal today and it is truly a shame that he was unable to continue his work with this truly gifted band, but I eagerly await his next offerings. Until then, I will continue to rock out with this album that is packed with sick riffing and melodies that will get stuck in your head for days, punctuated with heavy growls and screams. If you get this album, I highly recommend you get the special edition with the cover of Dio's "Holy Diver" , which is easily one of my favorite covers.



Avenged Sevenfold - Waking the Fallen

Avenged Sevenfold have done a spectacular job of branching out from their Metalcore beginnings into one of the most eclectic metal bands out there today. I've mentioned before how much I love listening to albums by bands when they were in a transitional phase, and this album is one of those. The bridge between their Metalcore roots and the straight forward metal they were heading towards, powerful intense vocals from M. Shadows, insane drumming from the late Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and some of the most incredible guitar work of the last ten years courtesy of super shredder Synyster Gates, even if Metalcore isn't quite your thing, you defintely should pick this one up.

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Demon Hunter - True Defiance

Christian Metal comes under a lot of flack from most metal heads, and a lot of it is sadly deserved. However, of all of the bands to show that there are those out there that understand that regardless spiritual beliefs, when it comes to metal, the number one priority should always be on making good honest heavy metal, Demon Hunter reigns supreme. This album is just a solid metal pummeling from start to finish with great vocals and sick grooves in the breakdowns that I only purchased a few months ago and have already listened to more times than I can count. It's just awesome.



Bullet For My Valentine - The Poison

Later releases from Bullet have showcased a move more towards their thrash influences and while I do love that they are incorporating more of those elements, this is the album I always think of when I think of them. One of the heaviest albums of the 2000s, this album has everything that Metalcore encompasses and makes possibly the best case for the potential it has to grow into something truly phenomenal that will be remembered for years to come. Insanely catchy melodies, heavy riffs and breakdowns, intense screams and some great lyrical moments, this is one that I think will later be hailed as a classic (the band is also Tony Iommi approved).

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Storming Ahead

I really hope that Metalcore will be something I can look back on with fondness in 20 years the way we look back on Thrash and other forms of extreme metal. I have a soft spot for extremely heavy metal with melodic touches and if it weren't for the unfortunate legions of copy cats seemingly refusing to form their own identity, this would be one of my favorite metal sub-genres of all time. I hope you all will give these albums a try and if you find yourself wanting for something just a bit heavier, maybe you'll find something in the next chapter to enjoy.


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